United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on the Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss (“Motion”). Dkt. # 13. Plaintiff OSA
Soccer Academy, LLC (“OSA”) opposes the Motion.
Dkt. # 16. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS the Motion.
a dispute over an unsuccessful joint business venture. Dkt. #
1, ¶ 19. OSA, a Washington corporation with its
principal place of business in Seattle, runs a soccer academy
that focuses on international study-abroad education programs
between the United States and Italy. Id., ¶
¶ 3, 19. According to OSA, the parties were planning to
jointly create and run a soccer study-abroad project called
the Soccer Business School. Id., ¶ 19. OSA
claims, however, that Defendants engaged in tortious conduct,
including the misappropriation of OSA's trade secrets and
other proprietary information, and launched the Soccer
Management Institute (“SMI”), an Italian entity
with soccer study-abroad programs that compete directly with
the Soccer Business School. Id., ¶ 40.
complaint alleges that Giuseppe Pezzano, OSA's owner, met
with Defendants Giorgio Antongirolami and Stefano Radio in
2016, to create a study-abroad program that would give U.S.
college credits to students who would travel to Italy and
play soccer. Id., ¶ 19. Radio is the CEO and
co-founder of College Life Italia, LLC (“College
Life”). Id., ¶ ¶ 21, 23. After
Antongirolami introduced Pezzano and Radio, the parties are
alleged to have met and discussed several projects.
Id., ¶ 21-26.
addition to the Soccer Business School venture, Pezzano and
Radio are alleged to have collaborated on fielding a National
Premier Soccer League (NPSL) team based in Pierce County,
Washington. Id., ¶ 27. The team, Pierce County
FC, planned to support the formation of the Soccer Business
School by fielding a team with Italian players that
associated with College Life. Id., ¶ 29.
Pezzano named Radio the Sporting Director for Pierce County
FC and brought Radio to New Orleans for the NPSL owner's
general meeting. Id., ¶ 28. Dkt. # 14 ¶
23. Through this role, OSA claims that Radio had direct
contact and access to a database for Soccer Business School
clients. Dkt. # 1 ¶ 28.
and Radio also attended various events together throughout
the United States. In January 2017, Pezzano and Radio
attended a meeting in Los Angeles, where Radio was introduced
to Pezzano's soccer contacts. Id., ¶ 24.
Later that year, in May 2017, Pezzano and Radio attended a
study-abroad fair in Los Angeles, where the same occurred.
Id., ¶ 25. Dkt. # 14, ¶ 21. In or around
November 2017, Pezzano and Radio had a telephone conversation
about the Soccer Business School venture, specifically the
partnership agreement and division of proceeds between OSA
and College Life. Dkt. # 1, ¶ 26. A few months later,
Pezzano distributed information describing the program to the
NPSL and the Women's Premier Soccer League; he also
registered the domain name, soccerbusinessschool.com and
hired employees for the Soccer Business School. Id.,
¶ 32-34. Radio states he traveled to Washington on one
occasion, around June 2017, to meet with Pezzano about the
Pierce County FC soccer team. Dkt. # 14, ¶ 11.
between OSA and College Life about the Soccer Business School
continued into 2018. In or around April 2018, Pezzano
arranged to finalize a formal agreement about the venture
between OSA and College Life. Dkt. # 1, ¶ 38. OSA
claims, however, that its COO Cristiana Pedullà did
not follow directions given to her to finalize the agreement.
Id., ¶ 39. OSA claims, instead, that
Pedullà secretly began to work for SMI during this
time and provided SMI with OSA's proprietary information
and trade secrets. Id., ¶ ¶ 34, 35. OSA
alleges that Defendants formally broke off all contact with
Pezzano by May 2018 and launched SMI. Id., ¶
of the launch, SMI promoted a virtually-identical website
that allegedly copied code from the Soccer Business School
website and references the same addresses used for the Soccer
Business School. Id., ¶ ¶ 44, 45. OSA also
alleges that the other social media pages belonging to the
Soccer Business School were changed to promote and advertise
the SMI study-abroad program without Pezzano's knowledge
or approval. Id., ¶ 47.
February 14, 2019, Plaintiffs filed suit. Dkt. # 1. On April
4, 2019, Defendants moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6), which is currently
before the Court. Dkt. # 13.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) allows a defendant to move
to dismiss claims against it for lack of personal
jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2). Plaintiff has the burden
of establishing personal jurisdiction. CollegeSource,
Inc. v. AcademyOne, Inc., 653 F.3d 1066, 1073 (9th Cir.
2011). “Where, as here, the defendants'
motion is based on written materials rather than an
evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima
facie showing of jurisdictional facts to withstand the
motion to dismiss.” Id. The plaintiff cannot
“simply rest” on the bare allegations of his or
her complaint, and all “uncontroverted
allegations” must be taken as true. Ranza v. Nike,